A child custody battle involving a Texas foster couple who wish to adopt a Native American child placed in their care has raised questions about the constitutionality of a 40-year-old federal law. The Indian Child Welfare Act requires authorities to give Native American families priority in adoption cases involving Native American children. Congress passed the law to protect Native American communities and culture, but the federal judge who heard the case involving the Texas couple ruled that it was unconstitutional because it was based on race.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it supports child support cooperation requirements for people receiving support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often referred to as "food stamps." In order to receive SNAP benefits, the USDA is arguing that states should require SNAP recipients to cooperate with child support enforcement efforts. This can include requiring both custodial and non-custodial parents to make official agreements for child support as part of their eligibility to receive SNAP benefits.
Fathers of today in Texas now have a better chance of getting shared custody of their children after a divorce. According to one law professor, the evolving notions about the father's role in a child's life and social acceptance of divorce are two factors responsible for the higher rate at which family courts are awarding shared custody.
One step that is necessary for parents in Texas who are getting a divorce is making a schedule for custody and visitation. It is important for parents to keep in mind that the purpose of this schedule is for the child to maintain the relationship to each of them and that this could mean they are sometimes inconvenienced.
Most parents untying the knot in Texas are likely to have some type of arrangement that allows both parents to spend time with the children. There are times when concerns about a child's safety and well-being warrant sole custody. However, courts often prefer to keep children involved in both parents' lives post-divorce whenever possible.
Parents in Texas who are going through a divorce and choose what is sometimes called "birdnesting" or "nesting" as a child custody arrangement might wonder how long they should keep the schedule in place. Nesting refers to when the children live full time in the family home while their parents take turns staying with them there. The rest of the time, parents live elsewhere, usually in a shared apartment. Most experts say this setup should not last more than three to six months.
Texas couples divorce because they no longer wish to spend their lives with each other. However, parents can't simply sign divorce papers and expect to never speak with their ex again. Instead, they must learn to co-parent together for the sake of their child. There are some steps parents can take to help the process go more smoothly.